Energy policies and public health are intimately intertwined. In New York City, a series of policies, known as the Clean Heat Program (CHP), were designed to reduce air pollution by banning residual diesel fuel oils, #6 in 2015 and #4 by 2030. This measure is expected to yield environmental and public health benefits over time. While there is near-universal compliance with the #6 ban, a substantial number of buildings still use #4. In this paper, geographic analysis and qualitative interviews with stakeholders were used to interrogate the CHP’s policy implementation in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx. A total of 1724 (53%) of all residential residual fuel burning buildings are located in this region. Stakeholders reflected mostly on the need for the program, and overall reactions to its execution. Major findings include that government partnerships with non-governmental organizations were effectively employed. However, weaknesses with the policy were also identified, including missed opportunities for more rapid transitions away from residual fuels, unsuccessful outreach efforts, cost-prohibitive conversion opportunities, and (the perception of) a volatile energy market for clean fuels. Ultimately, this analysis serves as a case study of a unique and innovative urban policy initiative to improve air quality and, consequently, public health.
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